The Environmental Impact of Black Friday in the UK 2023

Black Friday, the much-awaited shopping extravaganza, has gained immense popularity over the years. However, beneath its glitzy facade lies a dark side that needs to be addressed. 

Black Friday is the biggest shopping day of the year in the UK, with shoppers spending an estimated £12.3 billion in 2022. However, you won't find any Black Friday discounts here on Green Tulip nor on our sister site The Natural Gift Company

Here's why, as a small business with sustainability at the heart of what we do, we're saying no to Black Friday:

  • This level of consumption generates a significant amount of waste, with an estimated 1.5 million tonnes of waste produced in the UK on Black Friday alone.
  • The majority of this waste is packaging, with an estimated 700,000 tonnes of cardboard and plastic packaging generated.
  • Other major sources of waste on Black Friday include food waste, clothing waste, and electrical waste.
  • 80% of products bought on Black Friday are said to end up in landfill, incinerated, or are recycled poorly.

The environmental impact of Black Friday

The environmental impact of Black Friday is significant. The production and transportation of goods, as well as the disposal of waste, generate greenhouse gas emissions and contribute to climate change.

For example, the delivery of goods purchased on Black Friday is expected to produce 429,000 metric tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions in 2023. This is the same as 435 return flights from London to New York!

In addition, 1.4 million tonnes of e-waste is sent to landfill every year in the UK. This waste is often exported to developing countries, where it is recycled in unsafe and environmentally harmful conditions.


How Black Friday Encourages Overconsumption

Black Friday encourages overconsumption and mass consumerism in the UK in a number of ways:

  1. First, the heavy discounts on offer encourage people to buy more than they need or can afford.
  2. Second, the sense of urgency and excitement surrounding the event can lead people to make impulse purchases.
  3. Third, the focus on material possessions can lead people to believe that they need to buy new things in order to be happy or fulfilled.

Although we are of course a retailer, this goes against all of our values and our reason for being. Across all of our little family of businesses, we stand for conscious consumerism.

What is Conscious Consumerism?

Conscious consumerism is a shopping approach that considers the social and environmental impact of purchases. Conscious consumers are mindful of the companies they support and the products they buy, and they strive to make choices that align with their values.

There are many different ways to practice conscious consumerism. Some people may choose to buy from companies that are committed to sustainability and ethical labor practices. Others may focus on buying local products or products that are made with recycled materials. Still others may choose to reduce their consumption of certain products altogether, such as fast fashion or single-use plastics. With Green Tulip and The Natural Gift Company we try our best to help support you with these choices.

Green Tulip does have a sale section - our eco outlet - as a sustainable way to clear our end of line products and find our 'Not Quite Perfect' products a home, rather them gather dust and go unused on our shelves. But we try to do this as sustainably as possible. The outlet is available all year round, with no short term discounts or sense of urgency.

Say No to Black Friday

This is the best way to reduce your environmental impact. If you don't shop on Black Friday, you won't contribute to the waste and emissions that are associated with this event.